• Sarah Mervis

Quarantine Quarters

Expect the unexpected has been quite the understatement in 2020.

When it comes to the unknown, designers, contractors, and homeowners do their best to prepare for inevitable remodeling woes. Although, a worldwide pandemic and economic crisis aren't conditions I regularly warn my clients to plan for.

From Cali surf to Southern charm, Vegas lights to Northwest pines, here you will find six of my quarantine projects from across the country and what we did to overcome the unknown!

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Nevada Project

This Las Vegas home remodel needed a quick solution for tight quarantine quarters. My sweet homeowner clients recently found out they were expecting their first kiddo, so I was happy to relieve any stress that I could!

This young couple was experiencing the common small-space-dilemma of

cozy vs. functional. With a tight living room floor plan and a goal to host family holidays, my clients were torn between purchasing comfortable furniture or functional furniture for large gatherings. My advice to them was to consider an outcome that provided their growing family with the greatest level of happiness. With a variety of creative solutions available, both comfort and function can easily be accomplished in tight areas!

After many virtual measurements and masked trips to the furniture store, my Vegas clients chose to purchase comfortable pieces that their family could grow into, while still providing ample seating for guests. Remember: sacrificing comfort for function is not the only option when designing small spaces!

Arizona Project

A desert farmhouse in the suburbs of Phoenix was where my next client was located, and she found herself in quarantine chaos while choosing tile for her kitchen remodel. As stores were closing and staying home became the new normal, my desert client decided to order her backsplash subway tile online. Unfortunately when the product had arrived, it was not what she envisioned!

Frustrated, she turned to me for assistance. Encouraging an immediate return of the product, I sent my desert client the purchase information for a white subway tile available at Home Depot. Reassuring her that online purchasing can be misleading, there are steps we can utilize that will increase the chances of conducting the perfect online order!

Here are my three tips: Research, Reviews, Compare.

When ordering items online, thoroughly research the detailed specifications, measurements, and product description on the retailer's website. Once you've gained a solid visual, dive into the reviews! Always read both the positive and negative comment sections for the product to gain a greater perspective. Lastly, compare your potential purchase to other items that are similar. Pinterest is a game changer, as it provides access to handfuls of identical items sold elsewhere (sometimes for a cheaper price). Don't let online shopping intimidate you... Follow these three tips to gain confidence in purchasing your product!

Oregon Project

The beauty of the Pacific Northwest is partly due to the craftsman details of homes tucked beneath giant pine trees. Like most of us who are staring at our walls these days, my quarantine client realized it was time to tackle those interior projects that had been put off for too long. Her design goal was to update her fading yellowish walls with a neutral white that would compliment her bold turquoise fireplace.

With over 150+ variations of white paint (omg), I suggested both a warm white and a cool white option for my Northwest client. Analyzing each color against the striking turquoise paint, these are the two Benjamin Moore selections I recommended:

"Soft Chamois" - a warm white to compliment the yellow undertones of the turquoise.

"Chantilly Lace" - a cooler white that will brighten the blue tones of the turquoise.

Bringing a fresh, airy vibe into this quarantined gal's house, I also provided a minty-gray color (Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore) to freshen up her current bathroom and fulfill her desire for a bright new look. As a surprise, she chose to use this palette in her Sprinter van remodel as well, where she could enjoy the colors in her home-away-from-home! An easy paint solution will make anyone's space feel refreshed, and revive it from its current slumber :)

Texas Project

This Texas Tudor is currently undergoing a top to bottom renovation as of early last year, and I was thankful to see the pandemic hadn't impacted productivity. Paint colors, fixtures, hardware, tile, countertops... These quarantine quarters were smooth sailing as we deciphered between pendant lighting and bathroom paint samples!

My Southern clients chose to preserve the home's charming details throughout their renovation, but found themselves questioning if the original glass door knobs would coincide with their new modern touches around the house. As an advocate for keeping the charm of historical homes, I suggested refinishing the knobs and painting the base black to match the new hardware and fixtures throughout the house.

When renovating an older home, there is always an option to preserve history! Solutions to combine both the old and the new do exist, especially without having to sacrifice the original character. Being a part of this charmer's renovation has been such an amazing experience, and I can't wait for the final reveal!

California Project

This cozy beach cottage in Orange County began its massive renovation just before the world paused. Waiting patiently to see their visions come to life, the transformation of this California dream house has the owners anxiously anticipating the end result!

During quarantine, one of the first projects tackled in this O.C. cottage was the fireplace: it was small, underwhelming, and anything but awesome. To create that eye-catching appeal all fireplaces should possess, we expanded the width of the brick both vertically and horizontally- a simple but dramatic solution for this beachy abode. The brick will be painted a crisp white to keep with the airy coastal vibe of most OC homes, delivering a cozy feel my clients are searching for! Design solutions aren't always focused on removing or replacing features, but rather enhancing what the house currently contributes.

Stay tuned for the upcoming reveal of these SoCal quarantine quarters!

Florida Project

Jumping from one Florida kitchen renovation to another, my Southeast client found herself knee-deep in remodeling woes!

This boss babe reached out to me from her water damaged kitchen, with intentions to capitalize on the situation and completely renovate her space.

Bolstering a traditional style with an arts and crafts vibe, my client desired a kitchen made up of quality details; especially when it came to selecting cabinetry. Depending on a homeowner's budget, there are various products that can quickly turn your remodel into a masterpiece or a mistake!

While renovating a kitchen, it's beneficial to understand the differences between cabinet options. Hardwood or solid wood is the most durable material for any cabinetry project, while particle board is the least durable as it only contains chunks of engineered wood pressed together (similar to IKEA products). Plywood is a variation of solid wood where sheets of hardwood are glued together to form one thick piece, making it more durable than particle board but less desirable than hardwood.

As a gal who preaches budget design, I am also highly aware of when quality vs. quantity is paramount in a project. Recognizing which aspects in a home renovation deserve our dollars is a huge portion of interior design, and I was thankful to see that my Florida client knew exactly how to invest in quality!

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With so many of us living that quarantine lifestyle, we are beginning to view our spaces from a different perspective. Let's end the mundane and try out a new paint color or jump-start that DIY project! Now more than ever people are realizing just how important it is to feel happy in their homes :)